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Brunswick teacher's ornament hanging on White House tree

December 19, 2007

BRUNSWICK, Md. - Brunswick Middle School art teacher William M. Groff Jr. had the high honor of seeing his winning hand-painted ornament on display on the White House Blue Room tree.

"I was excited to see that my ornament had been placed at eye level on the outer edge of the tree. A perfect location," he said.

First lady Laura Bush designated national parks as the theme of this year's White House Blue Room Christmas tree. Each of the 391 ornaments on the tree represents a national park or historic site.

So how did Groff's design make it to the White House? Each park was given a 6-inch gold ball and asked to select an artist.

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"I was asked by Cathy Beeler at Monocacy National Battlefield. I have been associated with the park since its opening in 1991 and have done several paintings of the Civil War battle, several of which are on display at the visitors' center," Groff said. "For the ornament, I chose two landmarks from the park: the Worthington House and the 14th New Jersey monument. In the background I painted a map of the battlefield in a parchment tone. The bottom features a white star on a dark blue circle and is topped off with a small blue circle."

Brunswick Middle Principal Brian Vasquenza said, "Our school is very proud to have such a talented art teacher who gives so much back to the community that his work is on display at the White House. Mr. Groff is an excellent teacher and an outstanding role model to the students here."

To see a slide show that includes the ornament Groff painted (#222), visit www.whitehouse.gov.

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